George FitzGerald is at the top of his game. London born and Berlin based, FitzGerald has a firm grasp on House and Techno music, and there’s a diversity and quality in his production that’s not easily attained. Just signed to Double Six/Domino in the UK, FitzGerald released his latest offering in November — a 2-track EP titled “Magnetic” which features the producer’s first original vocal contribution. FitzGerald will be taking the Magnetic name on the road to North America beginning this Friday in San Francisco, hitting 8 additional dates up until around Christmas. We had a chance to chat with George ahead of the tour, touching on a multitude of subjects including his thoughts on writing his first vocal, the faults of the modern day dance album, producing for Katy B, and more.
Read on to view the whole chat as well as the full Magnetic tour schedule…
Gotta Dance Dirty™: Thanks for taking some time with us George. Let’s kick off by talking about your upcoming headline tour in December. Is this the first proper tour you’ve done in America?
GF: I’ve been over a handful of times for specific things. I was over earlier in the year for Movement in Detroit, Miami, but ya this is the first time I’ve toured around to loads of different cities and headlined each place, so it’s a bit different this time.
GDD™: So the tour is named after your new single, “Magnetic,” which was just released last month. There’s definitely a darkness to it, similar to how you described your Hypercolour release to Mixmag last year. Is that darkness an active attempt on your part, or is that aesthetic completely natural to you now?
GF: I don’t think it’s something new to what I write. I’ve done quite dark things before, and I like to mix it up. I definitely think it’s more gothic, both of them “Bad Aura” and “Magnetic” on that release are more gothic-sounding, which is cool. I like trying to contrast, especially after “I Can Tell” which was quite summery and euphoric, I thought it was the right time when everything is getting dark and the days are getting shorter here. It might be sunny in LA but it’s not here!
GDD™: It’s actually kind of dark and rainy here today!
GF: I don’t believe you (laughs).
GDD™: So would you say your DJ sets are like that as well, spanning across different areas of sound? Some summery and some darker?
GF: Ya 100%. I try to cover a lot of ground without just being one of these people who is eclectic just for the sake of being eclectic. I think there’s a stylistic link even between the light and the dark things, you know, the way people produce them. But I like melody-driven House and Techno, and that involves playing happy stuff and dark stuff.
GDD™: So what was the inspiration for putting your own vocals on “Magnetic?” Was there a connection you felt with this particular track that you hadn’t in the past? There are definitely some raw, emotional sounds in there…
GF: I just felt like it was the right time for me to do something with my own vocals as my single. I got bored of using sampled vocals, and the single before that (“I Can Tell”) was kind of a farewell to that kind of my work, where I’m taking a cappelas and cutting them up, because I felt kind of limited by that. So this release really shows where I’m going to be going with the album. It’s all going to be either completely instrumental or with vocals that I’ve written or sung, which is really liberating. It just feels more artistically genuine…
GDD™: So do you find the writing process more daunting or is it more exciting for you now?
GF: I’m not someone who started off writing in the more conventional way. I’ve come from starting off with a beat and producing things, so it’s taken me a while to get used to actually writing a song. But that’s really improved my whole production process and it’s so much more fun because you’re not looking for external things to finish off your tracks. It’s all there. It’s all in your head. You don’t get to the point with a beat where you think, “You know what would be great…a vocal that sounds like this…” and then you think, “Oh shit, well I don’t have one. Let’s try and find one.” Now, it’s just like, “Let’s do it.” I know that to people who don’t know House music or this kind of music that seems completely ridiculous, because they would just say “Of course you sing it,” or “Of course, you get somebody to sing it,” but actually that’s how a lot of this music is made. So ya it’s definitely been a cool experience and I don’t think I’ll go back after making tracks like this.
GDD™: You’re past the tipping point then…So are these recent tracks out this fall on Double Six part of a larger album on the imprint for 2014?
GF: Ya I think this is kind of a bridge release. Maybe one of the tracks will feature on the album, but I just wanted to put this out to show where I’m going with everything. And for me it acts as a nice bridge between what I’ve done before and what’s coming on the album. Because there is a logical link between it. It’s not a complete departure, but it just feels like a development, so it’s good to show people where you’re going.
GDD™: Speaking of albums, who do you think has nailed it this year in the category of full lengths?
GF: Jon Hopkins, my now labelmate, released a really, really stunning album. That’s probably the thing, out of all of the good things I’ve listened to this year, that I’ll keep coming back to. It’s a really amazing album. It’s only 8 tracks and every single one of them is great and it doesn’t sound like anybody else.
GDD™: Dance music albums are a bit tricky too cause I feel like some artists are just trying to throw a bunch of their hits together, a bunch of club tracks all together, and it doesn’t seem like a cohesive album whatsoever…
GF: Oh ya. It sucks doesn’t it? And that’s why with my album that’s the last thing I want to do, and if I feel like that is going to happen, I won’t release them as an album I’ll just release them as 12″s. I’ve always said that. Like I don’t have to release an album for Domino. If you’re going to write an album, especially these days, there’s no point in writing the album unless there’s an idea behind it. People will download the individual tracks anyway. The album, more than ever, has to be a statement and a cohesive thing. Otherwise, there’s just no point.
GDD™: Agreed. So your collaboration with Katy B is really on point. How’d that come about?
GF: Oh thank you. It just kind of came about as one of those nice, surprising things. Her and her management team got in contact with me and asked me to work on something for her, and it just kind of came at the right time for me. I was working on my own stuff and I actually needed a bit of a break, and it was really liberating to write something for somebody else for the first time. So obviously it’s me, but it’s a Katy B track. It’s not something that I would release myself. You know, I really like it, but it’s written in her style. And that was cool, it was nice to work with someone who is kind of in that Pop world but has a bit of an edge to them like she does. So she’s not like a Britney Spears or Adele where it’s like straight up Pop. She’s worked with underground producers before, and she’s made an effort to do that kind of thing, and she’s come from that Rinse FM, London, underground-type thing, and I’ve always liked that about her. So it was something I really enjoyed doing.
GDD™: Obviously you’re pretty busy working on your own stuff right now, but do you see yourself doing more production work like this down the road?
GF: 100%. It was such a positive experience. I want to concentrate on my own stuff, as you said, especially at the moment, but it was so refreshing to work with someone like Katy. I think as long as I can pick the right people and not have to do it, that’s my main thing, I really want to carry on doing that kind of stuff. You get challenged in new ways and you make music you wouldn’t have otherwise.
GDD™: Absolutely. Well thanks so much again for the chat George I really appreciate it, and looking forward to catching your show here in LA when you get out here.
GF: Ya thank you I really look forward to coming out there.